Country Mapping: Bangladesh
Bangladesh has made remarkable strides in human development since independence with noteworthy increases in life expectancy, primary education enrollment, sanitation, and access to safe water. However, progress has been uneven and certain sectors lag behind; weak governance, inadequate infrastructure, limited economic diversification, and the looming impact of climate change are important and immediate challenges. Religious and development institutions in Bangladesh play distinctive and intersecting roles that affect many dimensions of social, economic, and political development. Since the 1990s, religious actors have competed with secular NGOs for space in Bangladesh’s crowded civil society by forming grassroots charities and civil society organizations. The complex dynamics between faith communities and development actors are important and understudied. This mapping project, conducted jointly by the World Faiths Development Dialogue and the Berkley Center, worked to fill in gaps in knowledge regarding the roles religious actors play in development at this critical juncture in Bangladesh’s history. This project also builds on research and a regional consultation held in 2011.